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    Marketing, advertising industry employees 'less confident' about their companies' futures, their own role in the industry

    Employees in South Africa's advertising communications services industry are more uncertain about their employers' business continuity than they were at the beginning of the country's Covid-19 lockdown.

    That’s according to the ongoing research being done by HaveYouHeard, in conjunction with industry news site,, to track how the Covid-19 pandemic is impacting the industry during the pandemic.

    A joint initiative from, and Cape Town-based full-service agency, HaveYouHeard, the voluntary survey attracted 110 participants, all of whom work in advertising, marketing, production or a brand-related role at a company.

    At the beginning of lockdown, a total of 65% of employees said they were either extremely confident (18%) or fairly confident (47%) about their company’s future. During Level 4, this confidence ebbed to a total of 55% being either extremely confident (16%) or fairly confident (39%). Some 12% changed their opinion to ‘poor’ and 6% to ‘very poor’.

    At the same time, employees revised their projections on company income for the next three to six months with 56% saying it will decrease substantially (up from 37%), 16% said it would decrease slightly (31%), 10% said it would stay the same (6%), 7% were unsure (20%), 8% thought it would increase slightly (4%) and 3% said it would increase substantially (3%).

    Interestingly, there was little change in how employees predicted the pandemic and lockdown would impact their careers. At least 10% said it would have an extremely positive impact (up from 3%), 19% said fairly positive (versus 23%), 16% said no impact (24%), 43% said fairly negative (42%) and 12% said extremely negative (8%).

    Not surprisingly, the industry’s employees – like most South Africans – are experiencing more stress. Only 8% said their stress levels had decreased while 80% were experiencing increased anxiety and stress.

    Claudia Schonitz - head of insights and consumer research, HaveYouHeard
    Claudia Schonitz - head of insights and consumer research, HaveYouHeard

    As a result of the uncertainty, bleak outlook for business continuity and increased stress, some 16% of the industries employees are considering leaving the industry while 25% will seek greater control by starting their own company or freelancing, 14% studying, and 36% are actively looking for a new job within the industry.

    “According to our respondents, the pandemic has had negative and positive consequences,” said HaveYouHeard head of research and insights, Claudia Schonitz.

    “The cons include decreased billings, retrenchments and salary cuts (which have increased substantially), decreased staff morale and changes to the type of work commissioned. While the pros include flexibility and ability to change, improved processing and ways of working and better internal communication.

    “Also, trust in company leadership has stayed the same (34%) or increased (35%) since the start of lockdown. This, I think, bodes very well for the industry post the pandemic. It seems to me many will emerge stronger, more resilient and more agile on both an organisation and personal level.”

    HaveYouHeard is a communications agency immersed in culture to influence it. With 11 years' trading experience and offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London, it uncovers unique insights to create innovative ideas that influence the audience by bringing the brands it partners with to the center of culture.
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